Healthcare

Fighting for a Healthier Future

Governor Scott’s Fighting for Florida’s Future budget implements important initiatives to improve transparency and protect patients at Florida hospitals. The Fighting for Florida’s Future budget also bolsters community-based care including mental health services, supports Floridians with developmental disabilities, cares for Florida’s seniors and strengthens Florida’s defense against infectious diseases like Zika. Governor Scott knows that raising a successful family begins with ensuring good health and the Fighting for Florida’s Future budget makes important investments that will keep Florida families healthy for years to come.

Hospitals
Last year, Governor Scott fought to make hospitals more transparent so that patients had access to data to help protect against unfair pricing at Florida hospitals. Florida’s hospitals continue to have record profits and the Governor is committed to fighting price gouging and unfair costs for Floridians needing important medical care. This year, the Fighting for Florida’s Future budget continues in that mission and saves $298 million in hospital costs, which are responsible for the largest increases in Medicaid program expenditures. This is accomplished by eliminating existing arbitrary and inconsistent supplemental payments for hospitals that provide less charity compared to the for-profit hospital industry. Public hospitals, not-for-profit hospitals, and for-profit hospitals are all at an all-time low in how much charity care they are providing relative to their record profits.

The Fighting for Florida’s Future budget also saves an additional $581 million by allowing Medicaid managed care plans to reimburse hospitals at more efficient rates compared to the traditional Medicaid program. Hospital services are the only services in Medicaid managed care medical assistance where plans are statutorily prohibited from paying more efficient rates.

Additionally, the Fighting for Florida’s Future budget saves $50 million by slowing hospital inflation and eliminating an automatic increase in Medicaid hospital rates.

Finally, the Fighting for Florida’s Future budget recommends transitioning hospital outpatient payments from an inflationary cost-based system to an ambulatory patient grouping (APG) prospective payment system to reward a high-quality and efficient delivery of care. APGs are similar in concept to diagnosis related groups (DRGs) for hospital inpatient services.

More Than $1 Billion in Mental Health and Substance Abuse Funding
Governor Scott understands the importance of addressing the needs of those with mental illness and better aligning services to serve this unique population in their communities. The Fighting for Florida’s Future budget continues to invest more than $1 billion for individuals with behavioral health needs in Florida. The recommended budget increases mental health and substance abuse funding by $25 million over current year funding levels.

Enhancing Behavioral Health Services in Florida’s Communities
The Fighting for Florida’s Future budget invests more than $18.7 million in additional funding to better coordinate and enhance mental health and substance abuse services in Florida’s communities for those in greatest need. Governor Scott signed Executive Order 15-175 in July 2015, which directed the Department of Children and Families to develop and implement best management practices based on pilot programs in Broward, Pinellas and Alachua Counties. This funding will fill the gaps in services identified by the work performed pursuant to the executive order.

Additional community behavioral health funding includes:
$12.6 million in Community Behavioral Health Services, which include: $1.5 million for services for high-risk youth, families and adults in Pinellas County $750,000 for housing services for severely mentally ill individuals who lack stable housing in Alachua County $500,000 for individuals with behavioral health conditions to provide transitional housing, job training and behavioral health clinical services in Broward County $1.68 million to provide housing solutions statewide for individuals with behavioral health conditions $1.6 million to enhance care coordination statewide for individuals with behavioral health conditions $6.6 million for community forensic multi-disciplinary teams and housing support for non-violent offenders with behavioral health conditions $3 million to add four additional Community Action Treatment Teams for Children $1.8 million to add four additional Family Intensive Treatment Teams $1.25 million to add an additional FACT Team (Forensic Assertive Community Treatment Team) in Broward County.

Governor Scott also continues to invest in Florida’s state-run mental health facilities with more than $222 million in total funding. This includes a $6.3 million increase to provide 90 new staff for the care and treatment of those in the greatest need who reside in these facilities.

Nursing Homes
The Fighting for Florida’s Future budget transitions the current inflationary cost based system to a prospective payment method, which provides equitable payments for similar services while rewarding efficient delivery of care. The new payment system will also reward quality of care at an unprecedented level and allows for a greater predictability of future costs.

Graduate Medical Education
In 2013, Governor Scott started the statewide Graduate Medical Education program and the Fighting for Florida’s Future budget includes a total of $197.3 million for Graduate Medical Education. This program has already created more than 1,000 additional slots and 18 new teaching hospitals around the state to ensure great doctors stay in Florida.

Supported Employment for Floridians with Behavioral Health Needs and Persons with Disabilities
Governor Scott knows that the most important step toward independent living is getting a good job. That is why the Fighting for Florida’s Future budget provides $3 million to the Department of Children and Families to provide employment services to more than 5,000 individuals with serious mental illness. This is the first time that employment services including job training and coaching, employment assistance and transportation to and from their place of work will be supported by state funding at the Department of Children and Families. The Fighting for Florida’s Future budget also includes $3.3 million in new funding to the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) to provide employment services to more than 2,500 individuals with developmental disabilities who are ready to work.

Eliminating the APD Critical Needs Waiting list
The Fighting for Florida’s Future budget provides more than $7.4 million to place approximately 680 additional Floridians into the waiver program. This is the fourth consecutive year that Governor Scott has provided funding to enroll all individuals with critical needs to help them live, learn and work in their communities.

Record Funding for Community-Based Care
The Fighting for Florida’s Future budget recommends a record $632 million to provide core services to children who depend on Florida’s child welfare system. Governor Scott knows that caring for Florida’s children is essential to ensuring a bright future for Florida and that every dollar must have a maximum return on investment. This is accomplished by beginning the process of using the established Social Services Estimating Conference. This conference will determine the needed levels of funding for core services provided by Community-Based Care organizations (CBCs) and improve the transparency, accountability and effectiveness of taxpayer money supporting the state’s child welfare system.

Caring for Seniors
The Fighting for Florida’s Future budget invests $4.7 million in new funding to serve more of the frailest individuals on the Home Care for the Elderly program waiting list. This funding provides services to an additional 1,300 seniors. These individuals receive assistance with medical supplies, home health services, medications, wheelchairs and home accessibility modifications, and other services to help maintain them in their home. The Fighting for Florida’s Future budget includes $3 million in new funding to enroll 249 individuals onto the Alzheimer’s Diseases Initiative Program and another $ 4 million in new funding to serve an additional 497 individuals in the Community Care for the Elderly Program.

Dental Sealants
The Fighting for Florida’s Future budget includes more than $1.2 million in new funding to expand County Health Department School Based Sealant Program statewide. This program helps ensure low-income children have access to quality dental care. Every $1 invested in preventative dental sealants saves $1.88 in costs related to treating decaying teeth.

Investing in Epidemiologists
The Fighting for Florida’s Future budget provides $1.9 Million for an additional 21 Epidemiologists in Florida’s County Health Departments to protect Floridians and visitors from emerging threats related to disease outbreaks like Zika. State Epidemiologists serve as one of the first lines of defense in protecting individuals from mosquito borne and other illnesses.

Governor Scott knows that Florida must be in the best possible position to receive funding that improves public health. That is why the Fighting for Florida’s Future budget establishes a new recurring source of $2.2 million of funding to enhance Florida’s competitiveness for more than $5 billion in funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that is directed toward infectious diseases research. This recommendation will also enhance the State’s preparedness in responding to future outbreaks like Zika.